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Human Rights

A Timely Warning by Over 100 Very Senior Ex-Bureaucrats On 26 April over 100 former senior civil servants of India belonging to the Constitutional Conduct Group sent a letter to the Prime Minister drawing attention to the shocking increase in communal violence and government response to this. What is stated in this letter is so important that this should be taken to be a very timely warning to protect the country and its constitution by deeply concerned, extremely sincere and highly well-informed persons. While all the nearly 108 signatories earlier held very senior positions in the government, what further increases the importance of this letter is that the signatories include those officials (retired) who held very senior positions in the security establishment. The signatories include, for example, such names as Shivshankar Menon, former National Security Adviser; G.K.Pillai, former Home Secretary, Government of India and Shyam Saran, former Chairman, National Security Advisory Board. When some important events take place, we need very senior and experienced persons with inside knowledge of systems to provide us a proper understanding of these events and what is unfolding. In the present context we could not have asked for a more experienced and better qualified group than this Constitutional

USCIRF religious freedom report recommended designating India as "country of particular concern" Washington:  A Hindu body in Washington has called the USCIRF report on religious freedom a work of "Hinduphobic" commission members while Muslim and Christian groups hailed the observations made in it, demanding that the US declare India as a "country of particular concern". The US Commission for International Religious Freedom or USCIRF report recommended to the Biden Administration to designate India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and 11 other nations as "countries of particular concern" in the context of religious freedom. The recommendations are not binding on the US government. HinduPACT, an initiative of the World Hindu Council of America, in a statement alleged that the USCIRF has been taken over by "Indophobic and Hinduphobic members". The American Muslim Institution (AMI) and its associate organisations applaud the USCIRF recommendation, saying religious freedom conditions in India "significantly worsened" in 2021. The Federation of Indian-American Christian Organisations and the Indian-American Muslim Council in separate statements reportedly applauded the USCIRF recommendation. During a special virtual congressional briefing, a day after the release of the report, USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava had alleged that Indian government officials were tolerating and engaging in religious persecution of Muslims and Christians with prolific mob violence. India has

Father Stan Swamy, who stood with tribal people to oppose exploitative policies, died in judicial custody in 2021 Indian Jesuit's martyrdom recalled on his birth anniversary Father Denzil Fernandes, director of the Jesuit-run Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, garlands the bust of Father Stan Swamy on his birth anniversary in Ranchi, Jharkhand, on April 26. (Photo supplied) The 85th birth anniversary of Father Stan Swamy, the first since his death, was observed with the release of a book and unveiling of his bust at Bagaicha, a training and social action center he founded in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. Elsewhere in the country, members of the Indian Church and civil society remembered the martyred Jesuit’s contributions to upholding the human rights of the most marginalized sections of society. The main event was held at Bagaicha in Namkum, Ranchi, on April 26 where the two-foot-high bust of Father Stan stands tall overlooking the institution he founded in 2006. Keeping his memory alive, Bagaicha continues to empower individuals and organizations working against the displacement of marginalized people, human rights violations, illegal land acquisition and confinement of tribal people by branding them as Maoists. Also released on the occasion was the Hindi version of the priest’s memoir

For the third straight year, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended to the state department that it designate India as a “country of particular concern”, where the government “engages in or tolerates ‘particularly severe’ violations of religious freedom”. The designation is reserved for the worst violators of religious freedom; Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea and Russia are also designated as CPCs Both the Joe Biden and Donald Trump administrations had in 2021 and 2020, respectively, ignored the commission’s recommendation to designate India as a country of particular concern (CPC). The commission is an independent, bipartisan US federal government agency created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). India did not react immediately to the latest recommendation, made in the commission’s annual report for 2022, released on Monday. The designation “CPC” is reserved for the worst violators of religious freedom. Currently, 10 countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea and Russia are designated as CPCs. Four other countries have received the CPC recommendation along with India: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam. The purpose of such a recommendation is to focus US policymakers’ attention on the worst violators of religious freedom globally. For countries designated as CPCs, the IRFA provides the US

A federation of Indian American Christian groups says it documented at least 761 incidents of violence against Christians, including lynching and armed assaults last year. It is recommended that the U.S. and European governments impose sanctions on officials who promote violence and exclusion of religious minorities. “The year 2021 has proven to be the most violent year for Christians in India,” said John Prabhudoss, the chairman of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., this week. Prabhudoss said FIACONA documented and analyzed all the 761 incidents, adding that the number of anti-Christian attacks is likely to be much higher because most of the incidents are not reported. Christians and other minorities, he explained, do not trust the police, especially in rural areas. “The current hostile environment in India amplifies that distrust.” Prabhudoss added that a survey by FIACONA in states where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is governing showed that 72% of Christians believe that the police will not protect their lives, liberty, property or their way of life. The report by FIACONA said India’s judiciary is also not viewed as being independent and impartial. “The higher courts in India have been passing judgments favoring

03/10/2022: Karnataka Government has passed the Anti-Conversion Bill in the Assembly despite stiff opposition from civil society and political parties. The Bill is expected to be tabled in the upper house to be made into a law. The Anti-Conversion Laws affect Christians, Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and Women. It restricts the rights of an Indian citizen to choose one’s religion. It violates the equality and freedom of religions in India as per the Indian Constitution. It is discriminatory as well as draconian. The National Solidarity forum initiated a campaign to Repeal Anti-Conversion Laws in India. The appeal is to support the campaign through endorsements on: https://chng.it/gBYcGCPZyV The National Solidarity Forum (NSF) is a coalition of groups and individuals across India, upholding the principles of secularism, human rights, peace, justice and harmony. This campaign petition appeared on https://countercurrents.org/

02/17/2022: Two days after a 20-feet Jesus statue was demolished by the Kolar district administration of Karnataka, Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore, has alleged that it was pulled down in violation of court directives, and no written notice was served on persons concerned before the impending action. According to locals, the district administration accompanied by nearly 400 policemen reached Gokunte village – which is just two kilometres from Andhra Pradesh border – in the wee hours on Thursday, February 15, to pull down the statue which had been existing since 2004. Except for the four families in the village, which has a population of around 600, the rest in the village follow the Roman-Catholic faith. Machado alleged that the administration went ahead with the demolition despite the fact that the said land (of two acres) on which the statue stood belonged to a church, which had necessary documents to that effect. The demolition was carried out because the “local authorities considered them as not proper or incomplete”, he added. The archbishop also alleged that the demolition was carried out even though there was a stay order on the demolition from a trial court. “In spite of stay order and best efforts to help

To Shri Narendra Modi Prime Minister Government of India South Block, Raisina Hill New Delhi-110 011. Dear Prime Minister, I write to you, the Leader of our great Democratic,Secular, Socialist Republic of India, governed by a Constitution which enshrines the fundamental rights and freedoms of Indian citizens, irrespective of caste, colour, race or creed, as a senior concerned citizen who has served my country for 50 years in various capacities. You are a leader respected nationally and internationally. You travel around the world, calling on world leaders, including His Holiness the Pope, in Rome, proclaiming that India is a free democratic secular state. Your speeches and statements have been praised and extensively reported on, by the global media. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground here, presents a stark contrast to the image you project of India to the global community, especially in the context of minority rights and secularism. Mr. Prime Minister, across India, highly organised and militant right wing extremist groups are terrorising, attacking and killing innocent citizens in the name of religion. I am appalled at the recent, widely reported statements, made by some religious leaders calling for genocide of non-Hindus, in order to create a Hindu Rashtra. What is even more shocking, is that there is

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FIACONA

Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations Pray for a Persecuted Church
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